Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Iron Chef America (duh, duh, duhhhhhhh)

I admit it, I am a fan of the show, even though it isn't the same as the original and is way too easy now.  By easy I mean that instead of the chefs having no idea what the secret ingredient could be they have to think for anything and instead of making one dish of each kind in that hour time, they have to make enough dishes for each judge at that time.  It takes a lot more time to make 20 plates of food than to make 5 plates of food.  Also, they reveal that on Iron Chef America, the chefs are told that there are three possibilities for what the secret ingredient could be, so they prepare for all three.  I remember the old show having no clue as to what it could be.  I think one time the secret ingredient was cheese and one time it is wine and it was difficult.  I also hoped that Iron Chef America would have foods that are more native to the country.  But anyway, I could go off all day complaining about the show, even though I do watch it.

What I also watched was The Next Iron Chef: Redemption, where they took everyone who didn't make it to one of the Next Iron Chef shows and asked them to compete again for the prize of being the next Iron Chef.  The show was interesting as they had a theme for each episode and tried to make dishes tied to that theme, like invention or inspiration.  Anyhow, you start with a load of really good chefs and then weed it down to the chefs that will make good TV.  What you had was 10 really good chefs, all celebrity chefs, all owners of multiple restaurants and all probably doing well; financially.  Then you say, "hey, win this and you will have some extra work to do but will gain fame and some bonus bucks."  Then you have a "Top Chef" knock-off called the Next Iron Chef, where chefs can compete to be an Iron Chef.  Again, my main issue with this is: if you have 10 Iron Chefs, and you can find new ones every year, then the chefs really are not that good.  In the original series show, you had 4 chefs who beat everyone.  They didn't get a new chef each year, they stuck with these and they beat everyone.  Look it up: there are now 10 Iron Chefs for Iron Chef America.  That is a lot of chefs.  I guess at this point, in order to keep the franchise going, they will get a new chef every year forever.

So, Alex Guarnaschelli wins to the dismay of a lot of people and takes the mantle as Iron Chef.  Her first battle, is mortadella.  http://blog.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/2012/12/chef-guarnaschellis-first-iron-chef-america-showdown/   

Mortadella is a sausage, made from pork, with huge cubes of pork fat.  It is like a fatty bologna and has Italian origin.   The sausage was basically used by the ancient Romans, which indicates that it is an old recipe.  That picture is not of small people either.  The sausage links are huge.  I know this because on Friday, we went to a Schnucks and purchased some slices to make sandwiches.

Yes, this is real and not a fake ruler.  This is a slice of Mortadella, with pistachios, that is about 7 & 1/2 inches in diameter.  It is huge.  I was able to tear off a quarter and tried to fry it in a pan and treat it like a better bologna.
What you have here, is something that tastes like the best bologna, but with huge pieces of pork fat.  In this case, the fat squares that were white originally, had cooked and turned clear.   Then the sides and the fat started to render further and get crispy.  What finished was something that tastes like fried bologna with a slice of bacon on it.  I forget how much it was, for the quarter pound that we picked up, but so far, this is definitely worth it.  I recommend looking for this and eating this and buying this, if you can find it.

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